In “A Very Short Introduction,” Jonathan Post has written a concise and insightful summary of the life and poetry of Elizabeth Bishop.
The year 2022 is shaping up as one of the best in recent memory for the publication of poetic biographies and anthologies.
In his classic biography of Edgar Lee Masters, Herbert Russell tells the story of a writer defined by one single, enormously successful work.
With “Eliot After ‘The Waste Land,'” British poet and writer Robert Crawford completes his monumental biography of T.S. Eliot.
In “Making Darkness Light,” Joe Moshenska considers the life and poetry of John Milton to make sense of his own life.
“The Tell-Tale Heart” by Julian Symons, first published 42 years ago, remains the best biography of Edgar Allan Poe.
“Cross of Snow” examines the lives of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his wife Frances (“Fanny”), noting her significant contributions to his work.
“Shakespeare of London” by Marchette Chute, long out of print, remains one of the best literary biographies of the playwright that we have.
“Chaucer: A European Life” by Marion Turner is a significant work of scholarship on the context of the life of Geoffrey Chaucer.
“September 1, 1939” is one of Auden’s most famous poems. But British writer Ian Sansom sees the flaws. His biography of the poem and the poet is marvelous.
“The Banished Immortal” by Ha Jin tells the story of Li Bai, considered China’s greatest poet, in an account drawn largely from his poetry.
Jean Moorcroft Wilson’s new biography of war poet Robert Graves allows the reader to walk in his shoes and understand his poetry and his odd personal life.
Peter Parker, in “Housman Country: Into the Heart of England,” explains why “A Shropshire Lad” became one of the most popular poetry books of the 20th century.
In “The Whole Harmonium,” biographer and poet Paul Mariani tells the story of Wallace Stevens, poet, philosopher, insurance executive, and family man.
“Guilty Thing: The Life of Thomas De Quincey” by Frances Wilson details the life of the writer who had, and still has, a major influence on literature.
In “Mariner: A Voyage with Samuel Taylor Coleridge,” Malcolm Guite tells the story of the poet’s life through the words and themes of his most famous poem.
Two books on William Blake, “Eternity’s Sunrise” by Leo Damrosch and “Blake: A Biography” by Peter Ackroyd, provide an in-depth look at the artist and poet.
A close look at the poet and artist William Blake provides some surprising facts about a man largely unknown in his own lifetime.
Poetry formed the bookends of the professional life of Samuel Johnson, the great lexicographer.
“She may be the most famous person I never heard of.” Karen Swallow Prior’s biography of Hannah More, “Fierce Convictions, ” brings a life back into the knowledge it deserves.